SciChat at the University of Toronto

About Us

SciChat is an outreach initiative founded and run by graduate students from the Department of Immunology at the University of Toronto. The goal of the initiative is to promote scientific literacy through public talks and seminars at various community forums in the city. We present on a variety of topics in the health and medical sciences (such as vaccines, cancers, autoimmunity, etc), help audiences understand the science behind immunity and disease, as well as share some interesting recent developments in the area of research and treatment.

Although many people are interested in learning more about science and research, it is often inaccessible or misreported. We feel that, as graduate students, it is our duty to hold open discussions with the public on groundbreaking research topics and issues. Ultimately, taxpayers make our research possible; therefore, it is a part of our responsibility to ensure that the general public understands where their money is going and the process through which biomedical innovations occur.

We host our seminar talks mostly in public libraries and community centers. We have also collaborated with charities and other not-for-profit groups as well.


Co-directors: Nyrie Israelian and Elisabeth Foerster (scichat.uoft@gmail.com)

Content co-directors: Nichole Escalante, Angela Zhou


2015 – 2016 Stats – SciChat UofT

Number of volunteers: 51 (from the Departments of Immunology, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, and Physiology)

Number of talks given: 38

Number of venues presented at: 17 (13 libraries, 2 community centres, 2 not-for-profit organizations)

Number of talks in the repertoire: 13

Number of audience members in attendance: 400+